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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0621  Thursday, 15 March 2001

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Mar 2001 12:10:59 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0603 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Mar 2001 14:10:55 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0603 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)

[3]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Mar 2001 19:11:09 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0603 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Mar 2001 12:10:59 -0600
Subject: 12.0603 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0603 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)

Vick Bennison says:

>If he had read the account of the incident,
>surely he would realize that Bermuda is in the new world, to the left of
>England.

This is, of course, audience left, rather than stage left. But then, all
the world's a stage (or Globe).

It does remind me, though, of that bit from "A Hard Day's Night":

REPORTER: How do you find America?

JOHN: Turn left at Greenland.

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Mar 2001 14:10:55 -0500
Subject: 12.0603 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0603 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)

Perhaps I made my point too inexactly.  I agree that for pure plot
purposes, the island must be in the Mediterranean.  But for thematic
purposes such a prosaic and well-known locale just doesn't fit.
Prospero's island, with its pre-verbal demi-human native, elemental
spirits, etc., would not be in an area settled since at least the
Phoenicians.  We are familiar with WS's cavalier treatment of time when
different chronologies suit the action (as in Othello); perhaps the
geographical equivalent can be called "double space."

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Mar 2001 19:11:09 -0000
Subject: 12.0603 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0603 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)

Actually, even if there's no incontrovertible evidence in the form of
verbal borrowings to indicate that Shakespeare had *read* the accounts
of the wreck of the Sea Venture, it doesn't, of course, mean that he
hadn't *heard* about it in a general sort of way, and been stimulated by
it as he put The Tempest together.  But my present position is that I'm
not convinced that these actual accounts were 'sources' in the way that
Montaigne, Vergil and Ovid were.  As Barbara Mowat points out in her
essay in the volume The Tempest and its Travels (ed.  Hulme and Sherman,
2000) Strachey's account is itself a very literary construction - and
draws therefore on the widely spread literature of storm depiction from
the classics onwards.  Where there are what appear to be echoes of
Strachey in Shakespeare, therefore, it would seem to me a mark of both
writers drawing on the stock of commonplaces.

I don't deny that by the time the play was performed the fact of the
wreck of the Sea Venture would give the play an irresistible topicality
- but, as is not infrequently the case, I think this might be an
instance of life fortuitously imitating art.  But then, I don't think it
is primarily a colonial play - so I have an investment, you might say,
in downplaying the significance of the Bermuda pamphlets.

David Lindley
Professor of Renaissance Literature
School of English
University of Leeds
 

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